Today, I’m going to show you how to get as many catering leads as you can handle for just $25. This isn’t about paying us $25; it’s about doing it yourself for $25. Before we start, a quick note on catering: if you’re not offering catering, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Here’s why.
My family’s restaurant just closed 2023, and we were averaging about $16,000 a week in catering. Catering isn’t just about adding sales. There’s a snowball effect because you can promote catering to your regular dining room customers, and at catering events, you can promote your restaurant to people who attend. There are probably tens of thousands of people in your city who have heard of your restaurant or who might see you at an event and decide to try you out. It’s a situation where one hand washes the other.
I’ll also say, that as it starts to pick up, it’s a way to add large chunks of sales, and you can accelerate your growth quickly. The average catering order might be five hundred to a thousand dollars, while the average ticket in your restaurant is fifty or a hundred dollars. If you can get just one or two of those a day, your sales will start to pick up pretty quickly. It took us a while to get here; it didn’t happen overnight.
When we first started promoting catering, we were maybe doing one or two thousand dollars a week, but the numbers didn’t lie. Every time we had more than five thousand dollars in a week, we made a lot more money. So, we really started emphasizing it.
If you’re not doing catering, you’ve probably had customers ask about picking up food for twenty people. You might just throw something together. The first thing you need to do is create a menu; it doesn’t have to be fancy, a one-page sheet will do. This is actually our wedding menu. Our average wedding tickets are five or six thousand dollars, and we’re using this one-page menu to sell that.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you need to have one because if you don’t, people won’t believe you can actually do catering even though you produce food every day.
Scraping Your Catering Leads List
First things first, get that catering menu going. Print some, let your dining room customers take it home. Now, let’s jump into the main topic of this post. I’m going to show you how to collect as many catering leads as you can handle in your town. I’ve put together this list of different types of businesses that are most likely to order catering. Our number one customer is a local credit union here in town.
We’re lucky to have the University of Florida in Gainesville as a customer. If you add up all the different departments that order from us, they’re probably our second largest customer. There’s still room to triple our business within the University of Florida; it’s that big. Hospitals are another thing to think about. For instance, there’s Nurses Week, so there are different ways to promote to these industries.
Accounting firms, for example, are busy during tax season. Retail stores have Black Friday, and there are ongoing needs like trainings. Construction companies and architectural firms have topping out parties. There are so many reasons these companies need to order food. You just need to let them know you can provide that food for them.
I’ve got this list. If you want a copy, just shoot me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll send it over to you. I’ll put my email in the description.
We are going to use a tool called Leads Extractor. It only works with Microsoft Edge. I usually use Google Chrome for browsing the internet, but you’ll need to download Microsoft Edge for this. Once you’ve installed this extension, the add-on will appear in Edge. It costs $25 a month, and you can cancel anytime. If you spend a couple of hours on this process, you probably only need to pay for one month to have 1,000-2,000 catering leads.
When you open Microsoft Edge, head over to maps.google.com. I’m already there, so let’s start with law firms. Just type in your city; you don’t need to add ‘near you’. It initially shows a few, for example, 19, but to get all of them, keep scrolling down. The list will keep updating with every firm that pops up.
Once you reach the end of the list, you’ll have a lot of information. We went from 19 to 116 law firms just by scrolling. Once you have all of htem, you can export that, download it, and you’ve got all the information – name, address, and some have emails. But be cautious, as some emails might be generic or spam traps, so do your own research.
The list also gives phone numbers, ratings, and reviews. Not all firms will order catering, so use the review count as a starting point. For instance, start with those that have over 40 reviews. That gives you 39 different law firms to potentially talk to. Let’s look at another example – medical practices. As you keep scrolling, more and more places populate the list. You’ll end up with a substantial list to work from.
In Gainesville, for example, SIMED and Doctors Imaging Group are significant. The total review count is a good way to judge who is big enough to order from you. If an office has about 4 people, it might not be worth your time. But if they’re ordering monthly for 15-20 people, you’ll want to have a conversation with them.
Working Your Catering Leads List
So, we’ve got all this information. Now, what do you do? It really depends on your preference, what you have time for, and who’s going to work this list. If you watch our other videos, they talk a lot about advertising to get people into your dining room, which is a different process than marketing to other businesses to get them to order catering. It’s more like B2B sales, so developing relationships is key. You need to figure out who the decision maker is, the person ordering food, etc.
The most efficient way to start is to cold calling these people. I won’t get into that in this video, but if you have a script, you could probably make 20-30 calls an hour. If you had someone spend a couple of hours a day, a few days a week, you could make progress, especially if you’re creating a list for all these types of businesses. Another option is cold emailing. If you don’t want to make phone calls, that’s fine, but there aren’t many emails available. You’ll need to manually check each business’s website or Facebook page to find their email.
A good approach is to hire offshore contractors on Upwork to find emails for you. I pay $35 for someone to go through 250 of these and find emails, which is about 14 cents per check. It’s quite affordable, so you could do that as well.
And then, as I said earlier, we’re going to revisit this corporate office aspect. This is really any business, so it’s pretty vague. If you put ‘corporate offices’ in the maps, a lot of them are listed as business services, and we are looking for office parks. Just use ‘corporate offices’ as your search term. You’ll find places in your area, there are different office parks where a lot of businesses are concentrated.
The best way to approach these office parks, in my opinion, is through what we call ‘drop-ins’ or ‘cookie drops’. Print some menus, get business cards, and bring some of your food, desserts are always nice. Try to walk in during off-hours, like 2 to 3 in the afternoon. Have a conversation with people, introduce yourself, ask if there’s someone in their office who orders catering. Leave them a menu, ask for their cards so that you can follow up.
But again, I’m not going to delve into how we work that list in this video. I’ll probably create another one, so stay tuned. And again, if you want this list, shoot me an email, and I’ll send it over to you.